How to easily save 5% on your groceries

Groceries are one of the largest costs in most people’s budget, costing around 17 percent of average household spending. Did you know you could easily and legitimately save five percent on your groceries without changing your shopping habits? That would be over $500 per year for the average family. Both of the two large supermarket chains in Australia provide means to purchase their gift cards at a five percent discount to the card value. In this article I share two ways to get those discounted cards.

Supermarket shopper with trolleyGroceries are one of the largest costs in most people’s budget, costing around 17 percent of average household spending. (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Household Expenditure Survey.)

In my experience with clients, families easily spend above $200 per week on groceries –that’s over $10,000 per year.

Did you know you could easily and legitimately save five percent on your groceries without changing your shopping habits? That would be over $500 per year for the average family.

Both of the two large supermarket chains in Australia provide means to purchase their gift cards at a five percent discount to the card value.

At Coles

Across Australia you can purchase a copy of the Entertainment Book that contains hundreds of discount vouchers. In addition to the vouchers you can purchase Coles gift cards through the Entertainment Publications website at a five percent discount.

The way I do it is to buy a quantity of gift cards worth the equivalent of about one months groceries. Since I pay on my credit card which also has a monthly cycle there is no impact on my cash flow from pre-purchasing the cards. Then at the checkout I pay for my groceries using the cards.

In Western Australia the Entertainment Book costs just $65. Given that you can save hundreds of dollars per year on groceries with the discount it is a no brainer to buy a book.

If you want to get a copy of the Entertainment Book investigate your local charity, school P&C, sporting club or work social club as many of them distribute the books as a fundraising activity.

At Woolworths, Big W and Caltex

As a member benefit the RAC of WA provide the ability to purchase Woolworths Essentials gift cards at a five percent discount.

[Updated Nov 2011] You can easily purchase the gift cards in the RAC Online shop. Just login using your member number. RAC post the cards to you for free! The potential for lost mail may concern some but when I asked the RAC about their process in this circumstance I was very reassured. For added security you could use a post office box (like I do) or ensure you have a padlock on your mailbox (which is essential anyway in protecting against ID theft.)

Currently you have to visit a member centre to buy the gift cards and there is a maximum limit of $500 per member per day. Whilst it is not as convenient the savings make it worth the extra effort.

The Woolworths Essentials gift cards can be used at Woolworths supermarkets, Big W and co-branded Caltex Woolworths petrol stations. You could therefore save hundreds of dollars per year especially if you are the regular chauffeur to hungry, growing teenagers.

If you live in Western Australia, regularly shop at any of those three outlets, own a car and yet are not a member of the RAC then join up. At just $87 per year for standard roadside assistance it is a no brainer. You will end up in front.

Know any other sources?

I have heard on the grapevine there are other ways to legitimately purchase Coles and Woolworths gift cards at a discount. If you know of any other way please share your secret in the comments below. (You can be anonymous if you need to.)

Author: Matt Hern

Certified Financial Planner professional, Matt Hern has three times been awarded as one of Australia's Top 50 Financial Planners by The Australian Financial Review Smart Investor. He is passionate about guiding you on the right financial choices to achieve what you really want. Matt Hern is an Authorised Representative of Charter Financial Planning Limited AFSL 234665. All information is general advice only.

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